The end of the year is a great time to buy new equipment, whether for tax purposes or simply to buy something for yourself that you really want. Most geek wish lists include hard drives, graphics cards and processors.
The choice of core elements - processors, motherboardsand RAM - is now so large that laypeople are quickly overwhelmed. For processors, there are the AthlonXP, Athlon64, Athlon64 FX, Duron, Opteron, Pentium 4, Pentium M, Celeron, Xeon, Itanium. Then, there are at least three chipsets available for each platform - not including models featuring integrated graphics.
For our purposes, we can whittle down the plethora of products to a manageable sampling. There are Intel's Celeron as well as the Duron from AMD for low-end PC applications and the Pentium M and Mobile Athlon64 for notebooks and the Opteron, Xeon and Itanium lines for servers.
However, all the PC buyer really has to care about are AMD AthlonXP, Athlon64, Athlon64FX and the Intel Pentium 4 processors. Prices range from from $110 / €100 for an AthlonXP2600+ all the way to more than $1,200 / €1,100 for the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. Clock speeds range from under 2 GHz up to 3.2 GHz.
For our purposes, we wanted to know which PC processor delivered the best price/performance ratio. We also wanted to find out how each of them responded to overclocking.
- CPUs Compared
- Buying A CPU: Performance Vs. Falling Prices
- System Speed And Core Speed
- The Standard: AMD AthlonXP
- The Newcomer: AMD Athlon64
- The Model Athlete: Athlon64 FX
- The Market Leader: Intel Pentium 4
- Overclocking Abilities
- AMD Athlon64
- AMD Athlon64 FX
- Intel Pentium 4
- Upside Potential: Water Cooling
- Test System
- Overclocking Settings
- Benchmark Results
- Wolfenstein Enemy Territory
- Synthetic: 3D Mark 2003
- Main Concept MPEG-Encoder
- Lame MP3 Encoder
- PC Mark 2002
- SiSoft Sandra Max 3
- Price-performance Analysis
- Conclusion: Common Sense Prevails